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New Jersey Urges Medicare Coverage for Advance Care Planning

A New Jersey Senate Concurrent Resolution urges CMS to provide reimbursement to physicians for advance care planning consultations with Medicare participants.  A related bill (S.2435) would provide Medicaid coverage.  Here is the text of the resolution:

WHEREAS, Advance care planning is the practice of making explicit written instructions to caregivers, family and friends on measures for delivering health care and for preserving that adult’s dignity in the event that the adult is unable, because of incapacity, to make those instructions known when needed at a later time; and

WHEREAS, Advance care planning provides support for patients and their families making difficult life decisions; and

WHEREAS, Advance care planning ensures that the patient’s informed end-of-life health care choices are known, documented, and respected; and

WHEREAS, Advance care planning provides competent adults with a legal tool to designate a health care agent and express preferences about health care options to go into effect only after the adult loses the ability to make or communicate health care decisions, including deeply personal decisions about end-of-life care; and

WHEREAS, Advance care planning includes the use of advance health care directives, health care powers of attorney, and medical orders for life-sustaining treatment that can be administered effectively within the health care system; and 

WHEREAS, Studies funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality have shown that individuals who talked with their families or physicians about their preferences for care had less fear and anxiety, felt that they had more ability to influence and direct their medical care, believed that their physicians had a better understanding of their wishes, and indicated a greater understanding and comfort level than they had before the discussion; and 

WHEREAS, New Jersey has helped promote and facilitate advanced care planning in this State with the enactment of the “New Jersey Advance Directives for Health Care Act,” P.L.1991, c.201 (C.26:2H-53 et seq.) and the “Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment Act,” P.L.2011, c.145 (C.26:2H-129 et seq.); and 

WHEREAS, An increasing number of private health insurance plans reimburse physicians for advance care planning discussions held with patients, but the federal Medicare program and most state Medicaid programs do not; and 

WHEREAS, The Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee, a body of the American Medical Association that advises the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Medicare physician reimbursement, has recently recommended that Medicare begin to cover advance care planning discussions; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the State of New Jersey (the General Assembly concurring):  This Legislature respectfully urges the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide reimbursement to physicians for advance care planning consultations with Medicare participants.

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